The City of Claremore knows that people are sick of trains. One of the major complaints is the noise. And now they’re trying to do something about it.
Claremore has worked up a Master Transportation Plan, which will be presented at the State of the City address in January. The plan will show planned improvements over the next 10 years. First up on the agenda is designating Claremore a “quiet zone.”
Please note that the city is still actively pursuing options to address the traffic situation, as part of the 10-year plan. Solutions for that, such as an over- or underpass, clock in at about $20 million. In the meantime, the noise issue is something that can be handled at a minimal cost for the city.
A study was done about five years ago to determine the cost of the project. For just one of the railways (and remember, we have two in town), the estimate was around five million. Um, that’s a lot. The estimated price for channelization is approximately $60k, and it can be handled by the city. Much better than the millions projected by the railway. It’s a task that needs to be done for safety and quality of life of our citizens, and now it will be.
New assistant city manager David Brown took another look recently, starting with the Federal Railroad Authority. Together, they calculated risk factors on safety, and determined that the minimal requirement to have Claremore be a quiet zone is to have a single gate at each crossing. Out of our 18 crossings in town, 17 are already gated. The only one that’s not is at Country Club Road, just west of Walmart, at Dr. Cash-Warren’s veterinary practice. The city got a quote from BNSF on getting that crossing taken care of.
The other thing that will need to be done is called “channelization.” Five crossings on each line will be “channeled”, which involves some concrete work. Best news? Rather than paying millions of dollars, the city has the capacity to do the channeling work, as long as the railroads approve. This means the work will get done sooner rather than later, as the railroads have a waiting list of projects.
Channelization will also act as a safety measure, because vehicles will not be able to dart around barricades. (Dodging barricades is just a bad idea all the way around, folks.)
The team from the city is scheduled to meet with both railroad lines and the Federal Railroad Authority in mid-February. The plans have already been submitted, and the February meeting will consist of a diagnostic on-site review of the project. Upon approval, work can begin in mid-March. Of the 18 crossings, seven or eight will be channelized.
Crossings will be closed one at a time for one day each. Much of the work will be done during low-traffic times, so there will only be minor delays. Work should be completed by the end of 2016.
After that, trains will only blow horns if the engineer sees a safety issue. This will be a relief to citizens, as well as guests at all of our lovely new hotels. And just think, every time a train blows past City Hall or the gazebo, meetings and concerts won’t be disrupted. Overall, this will improve quality of life for Claremore.
If you have any questions, please contact Assistant City Manager David Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.